Monday, April 26, 2010

Some People Still Don't Get It

Links that were sent to me over the weekend indicate that America's youth continue to hold out hope that the economy will recover by the time they graduate and that internships still lead to full-time jobs when spending $120k and three years in law school isn't good enough anymore. Does anyone take news like this seriously anymore or do they think they will beat the odds?

An example of this is William & Mary. The school saw an increase in applications across the board at all of their schools this year. Looks like we'll be getting more visitors and followers to our blog in the next few years if this is the forecast for what is happening at most schools. There is no way in hell the economy will improve in three years to give the millions of us out of work now and the thousands planning to graduate in the next three years a full-time job. Not gonna happen.

The William & Mary Law School saw a 26-percent increase in applications to the J.D. program, receiving nearly 6,300 applications for slightly more than 200 seats in the Class of 2013. The Law School joins the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as well as other graduate and professional programs at the College in reporting significant increases in applications for next year's incoming classes.

The School of Education is reporting an increase of more than 20 percent in graduate applications. Admissions officials in graduate programs in Arts & Sciences also report an increase of eight percent compared to last year. At William & Mary's Mason School of Business, applications to the MBA program are up 12 percent compared to the same time frame from last year.

"Whether its graduate and professional programs or undergraduate studies, we're delighted that so many people want to join us at William & Mary," said President Taylor Reveley.

This news from the graduate programs comes a few months after admissions officials reported that undergraduate applications topped 12,500, a record number for the fifth year in a row.

I don't know where William & Mary is ranked in USNWR and I really don't care. I think it's a T1 institution and it looks like a lovely place to spend a few years, but that's besides the point. All anyone needs to know for the next ten years is that any institution outside of the T14 probably isn't worth the gamble. When T14 graduates are graduating without any job offers, one can make an educated guess that the majority of graduates outside of the T14 will not get a good return on their three year investment, meaning they will not find a biglaw or government job to pay off their six figure debt. The only exception to this are students who have connections to get a job or rich parents paying their tuition.

Then I came across this story at WalletPop about a 36-year-old husband, father, and business graduate who left his lucrative and intellectually stimulating investment banking job to attend Cardozo Law in 2007. Now he is graduating with no job offer other than an internship which he thinks will lead to a fulfilling long-term career in the law. Good luck with that.
When I got a job at an investment bank right out business school, I was brought in to analyze the impact of Napster on the music industry," recalls the 36-year-old. "That was a fascinating topic. The discourse going around this -- how is culture made, disseminated and controlled -- fascinated me."

By 2007, he started at Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law in Manhattan at a cost of $40,000 a year. While he remains as enamored of the field as before, finding a balance between being a fulltime student, a husband of eight years and a dad of now three kids has been tough. From morning until night, "it's always a balance act that I usually fail but I try to hold up my end as much as possible," he said.

It's become even harder since 2009. To the surprise of many, the legal profession has been hit hard by the economic meltdown. Law school graduates have had to scramble to find jobs. To improve his chances, Abramowitz, president of the Intellectual Property Society from 2008-09, held an internship last fall and is working in another this spring.

"A lot of firms are not hiring straight out of school," he explains. "[With internships] they want to build a certain amount of trust in you and they want you to be more familiar with their operations and systems so if they do take you on full time, you're ready to hit the ground running. And they don't have to extend time paying you and training you at the same time."

Set to graduate in June, Abramowitz remains optimistic that all his planning will provide a solid foundation for his family. "The goal is to build something for the long haul, for 30, 40, 50 years -- something that is fulfilling for me and something that is sustainable and supportive of my family," he said. "If one or two years or three years are a little rocky, OK. Hopefully you end on the plus side of the ledger."


  1. I have been a lawyer for about 15 years. The landscape of this profession has changed enormously and there is no elastic effect from the current economic recession. When the economy recovers (5-7 years from now), most of the legal jobs that have been lost won't be coming back. I graduated from a T30 school and today I am a partner at a boutique firm. I can tell you that many firms will not be hiring entry level associates in these times. I receive dozens of resumes from T14 grads and they all wind up in the trash can. If you are applying to law school, DO NOT attend any school outside of T5. Attending a school ranked outside the T5 will be a terrible gamble of your life and future. If you are a college graduate reading this, I know you will be too arrogant to heed my warning and you believe you will be the lone exception to the doom that awaits you. A few years ago, I would feel sorry for you. With the proliferation of these lawscam blogs, you have been warned. I personally will not pity any buffoon that attends law school in the past 2 years or next decade.

  2. Good lord, talk about great minds thinking alike, I just posted a similar themed entry on my blog. Although yours is far more informative and less polemic/comedic than mine.

  3. Heres some food for thought.

    My roommate is a 1L at a tier 2, well respected local school in California. He is in the top 2% of his class. He did not get an interview for an unpaid internship with the local city attorney's office. He received a form letter rejection.

    I am a militant scam blog follower and member of the movement, and even I was blown away by this. Please spread the word......

  4. I suspect that the vast majority of Americans are still completely unaware that higher education has lost much of its value and that our nation's economy will not recover.

    They may know that the job market is poor in fields they have already trained for (such as philosophy and political science or even the hard sciences) and have a very difficult time believing that it is bad in other fields, especially law. Remember, 99.5% of the populace get their information from the mainstream media and don't read contrarian malcontent blogs. Also, this notion that higher education and advanced and professional degrees often do not pay off is unintuitive to most undergraduates. It completely contradicts everything they have been taught and indoctrinated with since Kindergarten.

    Furthermore, the media, pundits, and our politicians continue to peddle the claptrap about how our nation has a shortage of people with advanced degrees and professional degrees, especially in STEM fields and that we need more and better college education. They are also peddling the notion that the nation's economy will recover in the future. In the meantime, the media continues to make out of context conclusions about questionable studies showing that college graduates earn more money than high school graduates.

    On top of that, the law schools are continuing to feed people bogus and misleading employment statistics with the tacit approval of the ABA. Most people, especially sheltered undergraduates, don't have enough experience in life and/or aren't smart enough to think outside the box and to realize that the ABA and the law schools (and other degree programs) may not have their best interests at heart and might actually have a huge conflict of interest. Why would institutions of higher learning--institutions we have been taught to respect and trust--ever lie to or mislead us? How could they be self-interested for-profit businesses?

    This notion that higher education, especially professional degrees, may not pay off is about as foreign to most people as the notion that God does not exist is to people who have been indoctrinated with religious belief since birth. It is not merely an opposing view or a new insight but a completely and radically different worldview.

    I think that that partially explains why people are continuing to flood into the law schools, the business schools, and other graduate programs in spite of the low probability of its being worthwhile. The notion that it would not be worthwhile is just counter-intuitive. Also, many people feel desperate and do not know what to do next, so adding more educational credential armaments seems like a good idea. The reasoning is, if you cannot earn money today then train to earn even more money tomorrow.

  5. People are desperate - that is why William & Mary is seeing a huge jump in applications. And yet, the pigs in the Ivory Tower cheer this development.

    The man who went to 'Bozo Law School is definitely screwed. But, like the typical American, he still maintains his (delusional) optimism.

    "The goal is to build something for the long haul, for 30, 40, 50 years -- something that is fulfilling for me and something that is sustainable and supportive of my family," he said."

    Well, the guy is 36 years old - and he is looking 50 years down the road. By then, you will be in a wooden coat, genius. (Or stuck eating grool, mumbling to yourself, and wearing a diaper.) Keep telling yourself you made a GREAT financial decision for yourself, your wife, and your three children, Dumbass. In fact, while you are at it, have another kid. Then your putrid law degree will REALLY pay off, right?

    Most people still don't get it. They have been ingrained with the idea that education = more money. To most Americans, pointing out that higher education is a scam is akin to admitting failure.

  6. Proud W&M AlumApril 27, 2010 at 12:08 AM

    Go Tribe!!

    I'd like to make three comments:

    1. Actually, William & Mary kids tend to be pretty well-connected. At least in my opinion. I think it's mostly because of the heavy military presence in the Commonwealth of Virginia. When I went, there were an inordinate amount of students whose parents were either high-ranking Army or Navy officers. In addition, there were a few students whose parents were foreign service (even one ambassador, if I remember correctly).

    2. William & Mary has a solid reputation, especially in the south. Some people view them as almost equivalent of UVA. (I didn't, but some people do.)

    3. I liked this site better before all the "adbrite" advertisements with the highlighted words. I hate it on, and i hate it hear. sorry! I'm okay with the amazon ad though.



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